Which Leapster should I choose for 5 year old?
July 14, 2009 2:32 PM   Subscribe

What is better? The Leapster Gaming System or the Leapster 2 Gaming System?

I'm trying to figure out what the main difference is? My five year old wants an electronic game but I want it to be educational. I'm not sure which one to get. Also, some of the software I see at the store says.............for expanded use for Leapster 2........which makes me confused.........will all the leapster softwares fit both kinds of leapsters, or does each leapster (original and 2) have their own softwares?


posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
All Leapster games will play on either system. Leapster 2 has an SD card slot and a USB connection so you can "See The Learning"(TM)
posted by IanMorr at 2:51 PM on July 14, 2009

My daughter had a Leapster and I've never seen a Leapster 2 in action, just so you know.

It looks like they're based on the same idea, being educational. The main difference I can see is that the Leapster 2 can be connected to your computer, giving you access to all kinds of stuff, from what grade level your child is playing to what questions your child is answering in the games. Kind of cool and if you're the kind of parent who needs to know everything, it might appeal to you. It looks to me like all games will work with either system, based on this from the website: "All Leapster games work with all Leapster Learning Game Systems."

The Leapster was good, for what it was. I bought her the game and it was fun for her, but I have always maintained that personal interactions are better than games. As long as you're not substituting real teaching moments with an electronic game (and I'm certainly not implying that you are), either game will be fun for your kid.
posted by cooker girl at 2:53 PM on July 14, 2009

Oh, I should add that the Leapsters are recommended for ages 4-8 but my daughter (and other kids I know) was pretty much done with it by 6 1/2. She wanted "big kid" games and didn't want to play the "baby games" anymore. Maybe there are more challenging games now with the Leapster 2.
posted by cooker girl at 2:56 PM on July 14, 2009

We looked at these things and similar products a couple years back (my boy is currently 7 1/2) and honestly none of them are even remotely worth buying. The games are rarely any more "educational" than those not marketed as such and are always of extremely poor quality and high price compared to actual gaming products.

Leapster and similar products are marketing gimmics aimed at selling crappy games to parents (not kids) under the guise of being "educational".

Your best bet is to pick up a Nintendo DS Lite (cheaper, has support for older Game Boy Advance titles) or Nintendo DSI (newer, has a camera, not backward compatable to the Game Boy Advance though) and pay attention to what games she is playing to ensure you consider them appropriate.

This should not be difficult as at 5 years old odds are any and all games she will have access to are provided by you anyway.
posted by Riemann at 3:25 PM on July 14, 2009

second the recommendation for something in the nintendo ds family—they have a great catalog of age-appropriate games for your child, both educational and just for fun.
posted by lia at 3:43 PM on July 14, 2009

They're not bad. I know a five and seven year old who like theirs. Their original Leapsters died within a few months 2 yrs ago (apparently an epidemic screen failure problem) but their replacement Leapster2s are still going strong. The Leapster2 also feels sturdier to me, so I'd go for that one. They're like $40 at Wal-Mart.

I tend to agree that they're not great, from my adult nerd perspective: low-resolution, the games are pretty typical Flash games technically (literally, that's what it runs) and such. But the educational games are QUITE well-made from a curricular standpoint (I messed with math, spelling, and others) and the cases themselves are very kid-friendly and durable. Five is a bit young for a Nintendo DS, I think. Too fragile, styluses are hard to use, etc.
posted by rokusan at 4:15 PM on July 14, 2009

Leapfrog has a new thing called the didj that appears to be a leapster for the older kid.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:40 PM on July 14, 2009

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